Malaysia Tourism and Travel Guide

Cities with high rises, pristine beaches, rugged mountains, islands out of a dream, and forests full of exotic wildlife – Malaysia tourism has it all. People from all over the world come to witness Malaysia tourism’s delightful amalgam of diverse Asian ethnicities and cultures, and the fusion of modernity and rural charm. You can see two sides to Malaysia tourism on your trip: Peninsular Malaysia, the more populated part of the country, which is highly urbanized with skyscrapers towering high and across the South China Sea, and East Malaysia, which is closer to nature, and is covered with dense forests. Malaysia tourism offers a range of activities to its visitors. You can take food tours, go on treks, celebrate a great number of festivals and even experience the gondola lift which until recently was the highest in Asia. If you are looking to go on an international trip on a budget, Malaysia tourism should be one of your top contenders.
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Best Luxury Hotels in Malaysia

Enjoy relaxing spas, azul pools, massages, beach views, delicious dishes and the best of Malay hospitality at these handpicked luxury hotels in Malaysia.

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Malaysia

Comfortable stays, good food and ocean vistas, Tripoto's list of the best mid-range hotels will let you witness the charms of Malaysia without having to spend a fortune.

Best Budget Hotels in Malaysia

Malaysia has a plethora of budget options with incredible facilities that will make you say, "How can this be so cheap?" Find one from Tripoto's list of the best budget hotels in Malaysia

Best Hostels & Homestays in Malaysia

Homestays are the perfect way to gain insight into the unique Malay culture and lifestyle. Or, you can stay at these happening hostels with happening crowds.

Best Time to Visit Malaysia


December through January is ideal for a vacation in Malaysia. Due to its proximity to the equator, Malaysia tourism enjoys a tropical climate. As the country is surrounded by water bodies, the climate is humid year-long too. But by December, the weather improves, and the Christmas and New Year festivities keep the spirit high among tourists. Malaysia tourism also sees a huge number of families coming from neighbouring countries during the summer holidays between May end to August end. 

Generally warm throughout the year, the hot weather is interspersed by spells of rainfall. The temperature generally ranges between 26 to 32 degrees celsius, with slightly cooler nights during the monsoon. The highlands tend to be chilly with the temperature dropping to 10 degrees celsius.

Visa Information for Malaysia


As an Indian, the easiest way to apply for a visa is online. You’ll need to fill out an application on the official website.

You can apply for three types of visas: 

Malaysia tourist eNTRI Visa: single entry, valid for 15 days

Malaysia 30 days tourist eVISA: single entry, valid for 30 days

Malaysia 30 days tourist multiple eVISA: multiple entries, valid for 30 days

You should apply at least two weeks before you plan on leaving for Malaysia. This e-visa will only be valid for three months. Besides, you can apply for one eNTRI visa only once in three months, so be sure about your journey duration when you are filling your visa application. 

Requirements for eVISA:

  • Colour scan of passport (must be valid for another 6 months after expected entry in Malaysia)
  • Passport photograph of the applicant  against a plain, white background (must be taken within the last 6 months)
  • Confirmed flight details to and from Malaysia 
  • Accommodation proof (If staying with a friend or relative, a document addressed to the Immigration Officer with the following information should be submitted: your name and passport number, name and address of your host, scanned identity proof of the friend/relative and your travel dates.)
  • Birth certificate for minors

Upon arrival in Malaysia, the following documents need to be carried with you to submit at the immigration counter:

  • e-VISA printout
  • Enough funds to cover expenses during your stay in Malaysia
  • Return flight ticket
  • Accommodation proof (invitation letter from your friends or relatives/hotel booking confirmation)

Since visa rules have been simplified, Malaysia tourism has noticed more and more Indians opting to visit the country. Visa on arrival is given to Indian citizens as well, but only if they are coming from Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia. 

Top Places to See in Malaysia


Malaysia tourism has an array of places to see. The archaic contrasted with modernity, as well as the man-made and natural wonders of the country will complete your Malaysia itinerary. There are many interesting places in Malaysia, but some of the best among Malaysia tourism are the following: 

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the country, makes for an appropriate gateway to experience Malaysia tourism. Owing to its mixed Malay, Indian and Chinese population, the city is known for being a melting pot of diverse cultures. Hence, tourists especially enjoy the variety of food, aside from the vibrant markets and grand festivals in the city that are a window to the rich culture of the country. The city is also well known for the high rises it adds to the Malaysian skyline. The Petronas Towers have become a significant symbol of Malaysia tourism, and your trip cannot be complete until you visit the 88-storey twin jewels of Kuala Lumpur. Aside from this, Menara KL, one of the five tallest buildings in the world, is frequented by tourists as well. Aquaria KLCC, housing more than 150 species of marine life, and the Sunway Lagoon Path Amusement Park are a few other well-known tourist spots. 

Malacca City

Close to Kuala Lumpur, Malacca City is known as the historical capital of Malaysian tourism. It is essential to Malaysia tourism as it is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, which also became the route of colonialism into Malaysia for the Portuguese, Dutch and English. Although Malaysia has been independent since 1957, the city still shows evident traces of colonialism in its churches such as St. Paul Church, Christ Church, museums such as Stadthuys, Cheng Ho’s, Baba Nyonya museums and forts such asA Famosa, St. John’s fort, Melaka Sultanate Palace. Jonker Street is a popular market there known for low-priced mementoes.  

Georgetown

The second-largest city of the country, Georgetown is known as the food capital due to its eclectic cuisines stemming from the different indigenous cultures of the country. It is a must-visit for travellers as it is another city within Malaysia tourism that holds the title of a world heritage site, ascribed by UNESCO. The city displays a variety of local as well as colonial architecture. The growing art scene in the area, evident by the beautiful wall-art rooted in the local history and culture, is a cherry on top of Georgetown’s inherent charm. Little India, a colourful street that encapsulates the essence of Malaysia’s neighbouring country, is a popular tourist spot as well. Penang National Park, the smallest one managed by Malaysia tourism, offers walking trails amidst abundant greenery. People would not be disappointed by the beaches in Penang, such as Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong. Malaysia tourism has something to offer to every kind of traveller in this city: the foodie, the photographer, the history buff and the water-baby. 

Perhentian Islands

Characterized by beaches dotted with palm trees, coral sand shores framing the South China sea, the Perhentian Islands are constituted of two main islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil that you can reach via ferries and speedboats. Malaysian tourism is the major economic activity on the islands, hence you will be kept busy. Water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming are easily affordable here and enjoyed by travellers, aside from activities such as camping, fishing, jungle hiking and canoeing. Perhentian Besar is bigger, more isolated and popular among honeymooning couples. Perhentian Kecil, on the other hand, is preferred by backpackers. It is a well-known spot in Malaysia tourism for its lively nightlife too. 

Cameron Highlands

Situated on the Titiwangsa mountains, this Malaysia holiday destination proves to be the perfect break from the warmth and humidity of the lowlands. Known for being the major producer of tea, this place is full of vast tea plantations. The British colonial influence over the plateau is evident by the tea establishments, golf courses and museums. Cameron Highlands is the perfect spot in Malaysia tourism for nature lovers, due to the abundant forests, farmlands, lakes, waterfalls and wildlife found in the region. Tourists can visit the plantations and farms, go trekking in the wild, or visit the many temples present there. Spending time immersed in this town steeped in culture and history, participating in high tea and meditating within its natural beauty would surely be some of the most relaxing experiences from your Malaysia tourism holiday.

Langkawi

An archipelago of 99 pristine islands scattered in the Andaman Sea just beside Thailand, Langkawi is an important addition to Malaysia sightseeing. While one can find paddy fields and forest-covered hills inside the main island, it is bordered by the clear, blue sea that is perfect for water-based activities. The Pentai Cenang Beach is one of the most famous tourist places in Malaysia. The islands are well-known for the magnificent diving opportunities arranged by Malaysia tourism. The Underwater World in Langkawi that houses more than 200 species of marine species is an example of how you can get acquainted with the diverse, local marine life. The Langkawi sky bridge and cable car providing a glorious bird’s eye view, the Eagle Square, Gunung Raya which is the highest peak in the region are only some examples that make  this place worth visiting. As this is a duty-free destination, tourists prefer purchasing alcohol, chocolates, and cigarettes here rather than anywhere else in the country.

Taman Negara

Considered to be the oldest tropical forest on the planet, this is one of Malaysia tourism’s most treasured destinations. It is known for being an essential ecotourism spot which is home to rich flora and fauna. Many exotic species of plants, animals and birds, a few of them even endangered such as  the Malaysian Tiger and Asian Elephant, can be found here. The Canopy Walk, which allows tourists to hang over the forest on a high, suspended bridge to sight some rare birds remains the most popular activity in the jungle. Another unique activity for adventure enthusiasts in Malaysia tourism is the guided night tour to see nocturnal plants and wildlife. 

Kuching

One of the best cities in Malaysia, Kuching is a popular stop for tourists. For many, this place in Borneo settled beside Sarawak River is their introduction to East Malaysia. Besides the display of colonial heritage in its architecture and cultural diversity in its markets and food, Kuching serves as Malaysia tourism’s entrance to Borneo’s lush rainforests. It is one of the best tourist places in Malaysia due to a large number of destinations in its vicinity that cater to travellers. Some examples of those are Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, the Astana, Fort Margherita, Kuching Cat Museum,  Rainforest World Music Festival, and Sarawak State Museum. This booming destination within Malaysia tourism ensures that travellers are introduced to the indigenous tribal life as well. 

Gunung Mulu National Park

This is another UNESCO site Malaysia tourism is proud of as it encapsulates the most unique experience one can have in the country. This is an ancient mossy forest which is significant due to its bountiful biodiversity. Situated in Borneo, it is famous for its unusual limestone karst features. The complex cave systems are some of the longest in the world. The Sarawak Chamber, in fact, is the largest known chamber in the world. It is not easy to reach this destination in Borneo with a rural flight and boat service as the only means of transportation. However, the effort to reach what is arguably the best tourist place in Malaysia will definitely be worth your time as you make your way through this largely unexplored forest.

Activities and Things to Do in Malaysia


Malaysia tourism has a roster of various activities that a traveller can choose from during his or her visit. Refer to this guide so that you don’t have to wonder about what to do in Malaysia:
 

Scuba Diving 

Malaysia tourism provides its visitors with some of the best scuba diving experiences at an affordable price. People can do a two-day course as well as full-fledged PADI course in scuba diving here. Both peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia have spots reserved for diving. Some of the best places to do so are Sipadan Island, Mabul Island Kapalai Island, and Lankayan Island.

Wildlife Exploration

The country boasts rich and lush wildlife as a lot of it is covered with dense rainforests. There is a huge diversity in the flora and fauna found in the region. Malaysia tourism has maintained a number of national parks like Bako, Taman Negara and Gunung Ledang for both locals and travellers to engage with the wildlife. In some places, safaris are also organised for a closer experience of the wild.

Temple/Museum Hopping

Due to the country’s deep history and heritage, Malaysia tourism allows travellers to take a step into its past by visiting the well-maintained archaic temples and museums.

Trekking

There are a number of hills in the country, such as Cameron Highlands and Gunung Tehan, that are excellent options for trekking. Besides them, the jungles are an exciting terrain in the country, having a number of hiking trails within it like in Penang National Park.

Food Tour

A Malaysia tourism experience is incomplete without delving into the local cuisine. Food is an integral component of the culture, hence you must go on a food tour in Kuala Lumpur or Georgetown, especially to try the street food. 

Cuisines and Best Places to Eat in Malaysia


One of the highlights of Malaysian tourism is its gastronomical brilliance. The colonial influence, multicultural population, and geographical location have contributed to a noticeable variety in Malaysian cuisine. Some of the main dishes of the cuisine are as follows: 

Nasi Lemak

Traditionally a breakfast dish, this consists of rice stewed in coconut milk, with some interesting sides that make the dish delicious. It is accompanied by cucumbers, a chilli sauce sambal, peanuts, vegetables, hard-boiled egg, and sometimes beef, chicken or lamb curry. It is so popular among locals as well as tourists that many think Malaysia tourism unofficially endorses it as the national dish. 

Nasi Kerabu

This unique Kelantan dish is well-known for its distinct blue rice. Soaked in budu (a fish sauce) and served with chicken, egg and fried keropok, it is truly mouthwatering.  

Laksa

Available in the form of noodle soup as well as curry, Laksa is an essential component of the Malaysian cuisine. Its most popular version is the asam laksa from the state of Penang, which carries a heavy tamarind flavour that gives a sour taste to the spicy dish.

Satay

Made of grilled chicken, beef, or mutton, the dish is basically meat coated with sambal or peanut sauce on a stick. It is one of the most popular Malaysian street food. 

You can smell the delicious Malaysian food from every nook and cranny on your Malaysia tourism journey. Instead of big, fancy restaurants, locals and travellers both prefer dining in food courts lined with local delicacies, such as the Red Garden Food Court in Georgetown. One of the most popular spots in the country is Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang, located in a corner of Kuala Lumpur that caters to tourists. Naturally then, the prices are high, but the tasty Malaysian, Arabic dishes with a few western recipes in the mix, make the money spent worth it. Mamak stalls serving Indian food with a local twist can be found on every other street, and constitute a big part of the food scene in Malaysia tourism as well. Other than this, having street food will give you the appropriate taste of Malaysian cuisine. 

Some restaurants you could pay a visit to are:

  • Opium KL in Kuala Lumpur
  • Tek Sen Restaurant in Penang
  • Jawi House Cafe Gallery in Penang
  • Wild Coriander in Melaka
  • Lepau Restaurant in Kuching
  • Wonderland Food Store in Langkawi

Malaysian food is hot, spicy, yet loved by tourists from all over the world. Interestingly, due to a shared past, one can easily find similarities between the cuisine had during their experience of Malaysia tourism to that found in Singapore and Indonesia as well. 

Typical Costs in Malaysia


A typical Malaysia tourism itinerary would be inexpensive, compared to other South Asian countries. However, the total cost would solely depend on your travel style. 

Accommodation: The cost of a single private room would be about 1200, and a double private room would be 1700. To cut costs, travellers could consider putting up at dorms instead that would cost somewhere between 500-1000, depending on how touristy a city is. The cost incurred for Malaysia tourism accommodation per day: 511 - 1706

Transportation: Public transport under Malaysia tourism includes taxis and buses. The former is slightly more costly, with fares charged per person taking the taxi. Most taxis do not have a fixed rate, so be sure to decide on a price before you take the ride. For an estimate, in the capital, fares stand at about ₹5 for the first kilometre. Buses, on the other hand, are the more affordable, costing around 80-200. A few of the best places to visit in Malaysia are close together though, so walking would be a smarter choice. The cost incurred for Malaysia tourism transportation per trip: ₹85-300

Food: In restaurants, food would be priced in the range of ₹100 to ₹340. Most people prefer filling up on local food in street stalls, which is extremely cheap. Some start at about ₹50 and do not go above ₹170. Food courts fall in the middle of the two and are liked by most tourists. Do keep in mind that the local food would be cheaper than Western cuisine, so choose to gorge on Malaysian food instead. The cost incurred for Malaysian food per meal: ₹50 -350

Other Activities: Adventure activities such as trekking and scuba diving do not put a dent in your pocket, a big reason why Malaysia tourism is preferred by most. There are a number of things to do in Malaysia on a budget.Trekking would cost somewhere around ₹680 - 1300 a day. Other than that, while a two-day scuba expedition would cost around ₹5100, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ complete scuba diving instruction course would cost about ₹14500- 22,000. The overall cost incurred for Malaysia tourism recreational activities: ₹5000 - 25,000

If you only splurge once in a while and cut out unnecessary costs, a seven-day experience of Malaysia tourism can be covered in ₹30,000- 40,000, inclusive of flights.

Frequently Asked Questions About Malaysia Tourism


Is there a visa on arrival for Indians in Malaysia?

Yes, a visa on arrival is available to Indians coming from Singapore, Indonesia or Thailand. For others, a visa can be acquired online. 

Where is the Malaysia airport located?

Malaysia tourism boasts of one of the largest networks of airports in Asia. It has a total of 62 airports, with eight of them functioning as international airports as well. The international airports are in the following cities: Penang, Langkawi, Melaka, Senai, Kuala Lumpur, Subang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching. From India, you can find both direct and connecting flights to these Malaysia airports. 

Can I get by without knowing the local language in Malaysia?

The official language of the country is Bahasa Melayu, which is widely taught in schools and used in media. No need to worry though, as most Malaysians are bilingual or multilingual. English is understood and used well by the locals, especially in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. As economic development has flourished with MNCs and tourists from all over the world setting base in the country, English has become an essential language for trade and Malaysia tourism. Therefore, if you need help, do not hesitate to approach the locals. 

What are some Malaysia points of interest? 

There are a number of things that make Malaysia tourism special and unique. The country is doused with history, diversity and natural beauty. It is a great destination to learn about a new place and culture. The delicious food, vibrant markets, and view from the tall high rises make your trip intriguing as well. 

What are some Malaysia travel tips?

It is fairly simple to navigate through Malaysia tourism. However, the following tips can make your journey easier: 

  • It is a hot country, so carry light and loose clothes made of cotton. Some regions are conservative, so carry a few clothes deemed appropriate by the locals as well. 
  • Taxis are an easy way to get around the city, but you might have to haggle and set a price before you take it.
  • Although people have a good grasp of English, learning a few key phrases in the local language will prove to be helpful.
  • The major religion followed is Islam which frowns upon consuming alcohol. Hence, Malaysia tourism has priced alcohol higher in most places. Thus, save up on your money and save your drinking escapades for neighbouring countries like Thailand and Singapore. 

A Malaysia honeymoon – is it worth the hype?

Malaysia tourism caters heavily to newlywed couples as a popular honeymoon destination. It’s varying geography and cultures provide a rich experience to bond over. From pristine beaches where one can laze around on to thick forests and high mountains people can delve into and explore their adventurous side, there are many interesting things to do in Malaysia for couples. The romantic resorts and fun nightlife enhance the whole experience as well. 

What is Malaysia famous for?

Malaysia tourism is known for the affordable and exciting experiences it provides to travellers. The variation in topography from coastal lowlands, high mountains and forests to urbanized, modern cities all add to the charm of the country. Malaysia tourism is loved  by families, couples, friend groups as well as solo travellers. Every tourist ends up feeling at home due to the warm hospitality of the locals. 

Which Malaysia beach is the most popular?

Malaysia tourism provides a range of beautiful beaches to its visitors where one could spend the day being lethargic without guilt as well as pump themselves up with adrenaline through adventurous activities such as scuba diving. Some of the most well-known beaches are in Langkawi, Borneo, and Perhentian islands.

Does Malaysia tourism offer good food for vegetarians?

Malaysia tourism invites a massive number of travellers from around the globe every year, hence it has become imperative to serve food suited to different preferences. So as a vegetarian traveller, you do not need to worry because there are enough restaurants that cook delicious vegetarian dishes as well. 

Written by Shruti Mishra, an in-house Tripoto writer.

 

 

 

 

 

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